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Sunday, November 6, 2011

When the trains hit the fan

My poor wife often has to work on Saturdays, sometimes for just the mornings, but all too often for the entire day. I must admit, however, that her loss is my gain, in that I get to spend some quality time with my daughter. Usually that means going to a park to play ball games together, or to let Amber ride her bike or frolic on the playground. This afternoon, however, we went on a short day trip, taking the train from Fengyuan (Fēng​yuán) 豐原 to Changhua (Zhāng​huà) 彰化 in order to check out the Fan-Shaped Train Garage (shàn​xíng chē​kù) 扇形車庫. Looking like something out of Thomas the Tank Engine, the garage is a sort of wheelhouse used for maintenance of train cars. Visiting the complex is free, with the only requirement being that visitors sign in at the entrance.

There were several permanently parked train engines at the garage. Amber insisted on clambering up all of them.

Amber poses in front of the turntable, which is used to direct the train cars into one of the 12 maintenance spaces in the background.

An observation deck provided an overlook of the garage:

We timed our visit well this afternoon as we had the chance to see the turntable being used to guide a couple of trains in and out of the large maintenance shed:

At one end of the fan-shaped garage were two vintage steam train engines:

Unless you're a trainspotter, the Fan-Shaped Train Garage is probably not worth a special trip (in our case, Amber likes trains, and Changhua isn't that far from where we live). However, it's free, fun for kids (especially if the turntable is in operation) and can be combined with the city's more well-known sites (such as the large Buddha statue 八卦山大佛像) to make Changhua an interesting daylong outing. All aboard!

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